Futures is Tea20


SINCE ITS birth on 15 March 1957, Test cricket has always had a tea break. But it has now taken the shortest version of the sport to bowl the beverage industry over.

The Tea Board of India has tossed the coin in favour of Tea20, a futures trading concept involving 20 qualities of tea considered among the best at the time of e-auctioning. NSE.IT, the information technology wing of the National Stock Exchange, has been asked to design the online auctioning program.

Tea Board officials admitted the cheerleader-spiced Twenty20 cricket inspired the idea to e-boost the cup that cheers.

“The program is at a nascent stage, but we hope it will work wonders for futures trading of the best of Assam, Darjeeling and other qualities of Indian teas,” said Tea Board Executive Director Rakesh Saini.

According to NSE.IT vice-president V. Rajaraman, India pioneered the e-auction concept that other tea producing countries are keen on adopting. “Tea20 will add a new dimension to e-auctioning that makes bidding very simple and transparent besides ensuring fair price discovery mechanism with the ever-increasing volume of trade,” he said.

Tea20, though, isn’t expected to be click-ready before Assam CTC tea gets its exclusive logo.

The logo, tea trade pundits said, would help ensure a stringent quality control mechanism for the export market where Assam tea is facing stiff competition from cheaper teas offered by Kenya and Sri Lanka.

“All teas produced in Assam would not be given the logo. The quality will have to be of certain standard to secure the logo unlike what is happening now,” said Roshni Sen, deputy chairperson of Tea Board.

India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of tea, and accounts for 28 per cent of the global production and 13 per cent of international trade.

In 2009, the industry recorded a turnover of Rs 9,000 crore. The bulk of the tea was traded through nine auction centres across the country, the largest being the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre.

(Hindustan Times carried a T20 version of this ‘ODI’ report)

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About rahconteur

A mid-career journalist who's worked horizontally across India - from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat
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